Here is the next installment in the “quick and dirty” rundown of simple quick tips to improve your home and make it a more green building; for your health, for your wallet and for your overall well being…
Part I will focus on small to no budget items (please see previous post of Part I)
Part II will look at medium expenses or items to look at if they break and need (NEED!) replacement
Part III will look at the big changes that will have a lasting impact on your life 9from a green building perspective, but who knows, maybe more…)
Part II. What really works:
Lighting. If you started with the light bulbs but want to do more or have limited opportunity for changing light bulbs, evaluate your entire lighting system. Install dimmers, replace old fixtures, preferable with LED’s. This is particularly effective for recessed lighting fixtures (such as the ones replaced in the Alcaraz-Arango kitchen). A pleasant side effect is that the heat effect from the lights will also be reduced, thus reducing the need to cool down the house/space i.e., use less Air Conditioning.
Air Conditioning. The general rule is to look at a unit when it is 10 years or older. Typically systems have advanced in efficiency and the payback to upgrade can be realized in 4-6 years. Look for the SEER value. This is the indicator of how efficient the unit is. Current code required a 13 SEER unit; a 16 or 17 SEER unit is considered high efficiency and 18+ SEER is very high efficiency. The later are a choice investment and should be evaluated for Life Cycle Cost and Return of Investment. (THIS OPTION WILL REQUIRE A PERMIT)
Remember to upkeep the correct filters and also clean the ducts, if you do not replace them.
Windows and Doors. After you have gone through your home and weatherized (sealed) the doors and windows they might still be too old and too leaky to properly seal the house. At this time consider upgrading your windows. Start with the single awning type glass windows and old school sliding doors. Also consider upgrading to impact glass and earn a possible deductible on your insurance policy. To go for top shelf, include low-E glazing and make your windows energy start type. The consumer label will lead you to the most energy efficient windows and doors and will maximize your bottom line savings.
Make sure you work with the right professionals and get quality installation to ensure excellent weatherization on your brand new items. (THIS OPTION WILL REQUIRE A PERMIT)
Landscaping and Irrigation. Look for some of the other posts for this topic. Under the mid level renovation, consider spending some money on a rain water collection system: Gutters and rain barrels. This will also help with erosion control around the edge of your roof line.
For specific help, contact Sebastian Eilert to get a custom plan to green your home.
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